Ah! My Goddess!, also known as Ah! Megami-sama! is an anime where a goddess named Belldandy has to live forever with a mortal man named Keiichi. Why? Because he made a wish when he called the "goddess help line" for a goddess to stay with him forever, because he was pathetically single and lonely. Aww.
So who is Belldandy, what kind of powers does she have, and is she important in any major world mythologies? Who cares! The point is he now has a magical laundry slave/manic pixie dream girlstaying with him! Belldandy may grow to love Keiichi over time, but it really just seems like Stockholm Syndrome, considering that she had no choice over the original situation of living with him. So yeah, I could say that this anime looks a little disappointing after seeing five episodes.
|Title:||Ah! My Goddess!|
manga by Kōsuke Fujishima
50 (Plus a Spin-Off, OVAs, and a Movie)
Other people have said that this show gets better when other goddess characters show up. But, if that's the case, why does the anime take so long to introduce them? What we get with Belldandy and Keiichi alone is painful. It's also a bit sexist, because like I Dream of Jeanie or Bewitched, you have a magically gifted woman having to not use her powers and do domestic chores by hand to please a non-magical man.
The pace of the anime is also kind of slow. The manga might be better, because you would get to flip through the boring parts, or because when they adapted the manga into an anime they added filler. But it kind of feels like the whole anime is filler, or just that the plot moves forward very slowly. But perhaps it was intended to have a "slice of life" feel.
Most of the comedy revolves around Belldandy being super naive about human stuff (like Ariel in The Little Mermaid, or Starfire, that type of thing) and Keiichi being bad at being romantic and expressing his feelings. It's kind of cute, but it can also get stale, especially since there are a lot of anime like this.
I have to ask myself whether this is truly a bad anime, or if it's just not the kind of anime that appeals to me personally. I just don't really understand the appeal of all these shows where it's treated like a dream come true when a guy gets a hot girl who is so stupid you wonder how she ever figured out how to use a toilet. I don't see how a guy can enjoy acting like a babysitter to a complete space case, even if she is pretty.
But I'm willing to concede that this might just be my personal view, and not something that necessarily makes this anime or others like it bad universally. If you like this kind of show, you might like Ah! My Goddess!. I still think there are better, more mature anime like this, for example Spice and Wolf. And, like I said earlier, maybe this anime gets better later, or has a better second season or adaptations I haven't seen yet. I am going to stay open-minded and possibly finish this series. But as of the first five episodes I've watched, I'd have to give it a solid D.
Rachael Lefler (author) from Illinois on January 14, 2017:
"Belldandy/Verdandi is one of the Norns in Norse mythology, ruling the Present, alongside with Urd (Past) and Skuld (Future)."
But as far as I could tell, that isn't important to the plot, they took "goddess" as if it could be used as a replacement for "whimsical magical girlfriend". So it really doesn't matter inside the show, at least not in the first five episodes. Also, being an aspect of Fate and a goddess of prophesy you would think would be a job too important to be able to just leave on a whim to live with some random mortal dude.
I do know the Yamato Nadeshiko idea but I don't exactly find that type of woman sexy or interesting myself. They tend to nag too much and end up seeming like the MC's mom instead of his girlfriend. I get that this is just a Japanese culture thing though. But Belldandy isn't a nag at least. Not like Ayeka from Tenchi Muyo, for example, who is a Yamato Nadeshiko but more bossy and therefore more annoying. But what is annoying about Belldandy is how stupid she is. And the show has a lot of "this whole episode would be resolved in 10 seconds if they had actually said X to each other" things. I hate that about romantic comedy as a genre in general, it's like, in real life, people just tell each other important things, I don't like when there's a little misunderstanding that leads to improbably huge consequences, and AMG seemed that way a lot to me (only watched the first 5).
However, I think one problem is that I think Ke1 and Bellbottoms are bland, stupid, and annoying characters. And those are the only AMG characters I've seen so far. Would I like the show more if I watched until Skuld and Urd show up?
Krokz on January 14, 2017:
The wish was kinda a joke from Keiichi (K1 for short).
Belldandy/Verdandi is one of the Norns in Norse mythology, ruling the Present, alongside with Urd (Past) and Skuld (Future).
Fair point about "laundry slave", a leftover from the 80's mindset (the manga is from 1988). Also a bit more understandable if you know the Yamato Nadeshiko stereotype Japanese love so much. But she doesn't it for obligation, she's kinda a cleaning freak.
Nothing on the series imply Stockholm Syndrome. Belldandy likes K1 because he's nice and puts the others' desires above his own (yes, Belldandy's included - mind you she isn't used to this, and her personality is similar to his in this regard). Other goddesses end living with them for the same reason, even without a contract.
The pace is really slow, but there's no filler on the anime - if anything, it's more streamlined than the manga. The manga is far, far slower.
Belldandy's naïvité about the human world eventually gets better.
In general I'd say it's a mix of both your tastes and actual flaws of the series. One can look over those flaws if the anime "clicks", but in your case, it didn't...
And Spice and Wolf is awesome.